Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by elizabrary, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    I have a few friends who know my situation with Kat, but it's not really something I want to share with everyone I know. I have two questions. The first is the easiest:
    How do I answer people who I am friends with but don't want to share the gory details when they ask about Kat? Many of them are wondering where she is since she just suddenly disappeared and I'm always kind of at a loss. "Oh, she took the baby and moved to another state with a guy she just met on the internet, but I've notified CPS that she's crazy," seems a bit much. But when I just say, "Oh she moved to another state," it is followed by an awkward silence.

    The second one is this: I have one friend who I am very close to. She has been trying to get pregnant with no success for quite awhile now and is not dealing with it very well. She basically tells me to just blow off Kat and that I shouldn't be so upset over my situation. This past week (one of the worst I've had in my situation with-Kat) she was fairly awful to me about it and I'm having a hard time even talking to her about anything at all right now because I'm so hurt. I know she's having problems and she probably doesn't understand what it's like to have a screwed up adult child (with a baby, no less!), but this is really eating at me. Any ideas/advice would be welcome and appreciated!
  2. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    As to your first question, I've had a lot of experience with this one (and got quite a bit of help here as to how to deal with it).

    My daughter went to a small, private school in a nearby town. She did not show her difficult child tendancies until she was nearly out of school. She was active in the teen group at our church (where i am still active as a leader)_ I run into people all the time from the community who haven't seen her since she was in elementary school and we switched her to the other school, I see people from church all the time who remember her as this fun, active youth group kid AND I run into people from the private school who think her behavior at that time was a phase.

    They all ask about her and I used to struggle with the answers. When she dropped out of college in Virigina (we're in ohio) without telling us and took off to North Carolina with a guy she met on the internet, I would say (in response to "how does dashlet like college?" Oh, it wasn't for her, but then I'd hear "Is she going to the community college?" or - worse "Oh, college isn't for everyone. She'll figure it out". Then I started saying "Oh, you know how it is with teens, she's trying to find herself." For some reason, this one worked. Sometimes I roll my eyes and laugh when I say it and I get an understanding (but not) laugh in return. If they press, I just repeat "Oh, you know how they can be. It's always something." Then I deflect and ask about their kids.

    My close friends and family know the story. I want them to because I don't want any surprises.

    As to your second question, I dealt with infertility and I know it can make you a little ...crazy. It's possible she resents your daughter because she has a baby. It's possible she resents you for needing to vent. If this is the case, she's not really your friend. I had a hard time with people complaining about being pregnant. I honestly wanted to punch them, but I kept it to myself. They didn't know and they meant no harm.

    Find someone, other than her, that you can talk to. It's ok to say (even to her) "I'm not looking for advice, I just need to talk."

    You'll find, after you've been around here awhile, that most in real life people have no idea what we are going through. They think our kids should just "snap out of it", or "give her to me, I'll straighten her out" (ok. just let me know when to drop her off. good luck with that one). They don't know, becasue they've never dealt with a difficult child.

    Good luck with this.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I know how hard it is when they ask about your kids. We always just said "M's fine." If they pressed, we had rehearsed lines.

    "He's between jobs." (Almost always true.)

    "He's trying to get into a program at the community college." (They don't need to know that he blew his financial aid and this is never going to happen.)

    "He has a place with a friend." (He's sleeping on someone's couch.)

    If they ask for specifics, I tell them I'm not sure, we haven't had a chance to go into details.

    As to your friend, it's possible that both of you need a break from discussing your problems (her infertility, your difficult child) and try to re-generate the things that you enjoyed doing together that wasn't part of that discussion. I know from experience that this can be very difficult. These are very personal struggles that in reality we have no control over. We can only come to our own terms with them and it's rare that anyone will understand how we get to the place where we are comfortable with what has happened or is happening.

    I recently had a situation with an old friend completely fall apart because after supporting her in her 3 year divorce battle, she finally got angry at me because I told her that now that the papers were signed she needed to do things that she enjoyed, and if what she was doing made her happy she didn't need to worry about what anyone else said or thought because she is the one that is most important to her. I'm still trying to figure out how I was a bad guy for saying this. She hasn't talked to me in nearly three months and I hear that she is "never going to forgive me." For what?

    I guess what I'm saying is that it's not generally a good idea to base friendships upon struggles. The struggles get old, or when they're gone, you find you really didn't have anything other than sorrow in common. It's better to base friendships upon mutually enjoyable ventures. Hopefully you and your friend can find some common ground that doesn't include those things that are so raw and unhappy for each of you.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    As to your first question...I recommend you come up with a glib answer and practice it so it rolls off your tongue. It is hard when you get asked and you get caught off guard. I tend to be too open and not hide too much but when my son was in jail I did not want to tell people that.... I thought of all kinds of responses... and then came up with something about him being off finding himself.

    As to your friend. Sounds like you are in really different places in your lives right now and that can be hard on a friendship. I too have been through infertility (which led us to adoption). It is hard to remember how badly I felt then because I don't think about it much as I have my two kids who are now both older. But I do remember how obsessed and focused your life becomes with getting pregnant, and I felt a bit of resentment towards my friends who had kids easily.... and I think at times I felt when hearing about some problem "Well at least you have kids". Not really pretty or even reasonable sentiments, but the whole infertility thing makes you feel pretty unreasonable I think. So my suggestion would be to take a break from her, either spoken or unspoken, because you truly are at opposite ends of a spectrum. She is desperately wanting to have a child, and you (I am guessing) are desperately worried about a child. I think as time goes on, you will be more in the same place and can really reconnect. If and when she has kids she will then understand your worry about yours.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This one works great. lol I used it all the time with Nichole. Witz has some good ones too.

    With Katie I'm blunt and tell them like it is.........simply because that is one less person she can con into "helping" her.
  6. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I am really an open book. I even write a blog and it has been quite cathartic. I'm pretty honest about everything - if it helps one person appreciate their kids a little more or helps some one to know that they are not alone in having a difficult child, than I think that is great.
    Drives my mother in law a little nuts because she likes to keep "family" business private....
  7. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I think after you've been in this for awhile, at least with me, it gets much easier. I used to really worry about what others would think and make excuses for why he wasn't at family functions yada yada yada, and now I don't really much care anymore. You learn who you can talk to and who is going to cringe and think, my child would never do that, or I wouldn't have allowed that!! and those are the people you avoid telling anything too, unless like I said, you just don't care what they think.

    I have certain closed friends that I can spend time with and the subject of my difficult child is rarely brought up, and I have the others that I know I can call in the middle of the night and they will understand. Those are the best :)
  8. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Thanks for the ideas everyone. I have been so stressed lately that it's hard to think objectively about my situations. This issue with my friend seemed like the final straw and it was driving me crazy on top of everything else. I'm so glad I found this place to get advice from people who get it!
  9. compassion

    compassion Member

    I try to stay something positive like she likes animals, music (true). In many ways I have accepted and let go . I was having dinner with friends from church on Sat. and the minister's wife has a teen the same age as my daughter. My daughter has not lived at home for 2 years. She will say stuff like typical teen type stuff and I just listen. I did say no, both children no longer live at home. I actually realy, really enjoy my time at church and elsewhere without being "responsilble" for my very impulsive daughter. It is a huge relief. My daughter is about 3 months away from high school graduation. I have actually grieved and moved on from the youth sports, the church youth groups, the homeschool groups etc. Detatchment is a beautiful thing. :) I am grateful I can serve as her advocate.
  10. AHF

    AHF Member

    I have found this to be a problem, not so much with friends as with family. My sister always wants to know what's up with difficult child, and she thinks she's being supportive when she says things like "Why doesn't the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) train him to get a job?" or scoffs at the notion of personality disorder. It's estranged us, in the end, because it feels as if she's telling me to take him out in the back yard and shoot him. So we can't talk about it, and that's fine with casual friends, but it doesn't feel fine with family. Plus my partner's kids are all fabulous, so when we're with his family everyone pretends as if I have no kids at all; it feels as though they've died. Takes a real toll.
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    OK... I'm going to pretend to be this "friend". At least I'm going to try. If I upset you, I'm sorry in advance. (I'm there right now, though I also have a difficult child, so... Sigh.) This is kind of my take on her thoughts on the situation. Honestly - when you are in the middle of not being able to have your own child, and trying, and wanting to - just hearing about someone who isn't taking care of their child, or may not be able to, is enough to send you off the deep end. (In my case? There isn't anything wrong with ME.) The other thing is - when you are in the middle of drama with your difficult child - you want other people to care, even if you don't want them to know everything. You need someone to talk to. And then your BFF has their own problems, and they really don't want to deal with yours too. It's hard, from either perspective. (Hey! Both sides at once, for me!)

    I'm dealing with this whole mess 'cause I can't have a baby. It really stinks. All these other people who don't even take care of themselves or their kids have babies left and right, and I can't. And it's not MY FAULT. I didn't do anything wrong, and here is my friend, E. And she HAS a kid. And her KID, who seems to be a real PITA, and does not take care of herself, and even SHE gets to have a baby. But not me. And I KNOW I'd take good care of a child. But E doesn't seem to get it, she just wants to complain all the time about this kid. Doesn't she understand? Her problems with K are done. Mine are NOW! She needs to just blow this kid off, 'cause there's nothing she can do now.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    (Knowing that you are playing devil's advocate here, Step)

    Ah... there's the rub. No one's problems with their kids are ever done - all you can do is gracefully back off and let them be their own problems. Blow them off? Yes. Nothing she can do now? Probably. Nothing she can ever do? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Our only chance for them when they're gone and out of the house is to be the best "us" we can be. That means living a fulfilling life so that when and if they ever really need our help we aren't too crippled by the past to do anything for them.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

  14. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Yes, I get what you're saying. I also think she resents my daughter for having this baby that she probably isn't the best mom to when she feels she would be a great mom given the chance. Of course that very thing makes my situation even worse because I not only worry about my daughter, but I'm worried sick over my granddaughter.

    I think my friend feels bad for being a bit insensitive to me earlier because she has been going out of her way the last two days to talk to me and have lunch together. That helps me feel better, but I still feel a little gunshy, so I am just talking to her about other things we have in common rather than focusing on either of our problems. Thanks everyone for suggesting that to me. It seems to ease the tension a bit.
  15. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I agree 100% with Step. Having been through infertility, it is soul shattering. I had nothing left to give to anyone, just getting through a day took everything I had. She is likely raging at the unfairness of life, that she who is in a place in her life where she can welcome and care for a baby is denied one yet your daughter who does not seem able to care for herself has a baby. I agree with the suggestion to have the friendship take a break from 'issues'. Maybe just talk to her and say that both of you are dealing with so much koi that you'd like to do something (dinner/movie/whatever) together and agree not to talk about her if or your difficult child. (If you feel that she would be a good mom, maybe just acknowledging the unfairness of life and the absolute randomness of who gets babies would help.)
  16. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Like all of the others, what I tell people has evolved over time. When Kanga first went away, I told people that it was a neurological issue and we weren't sure of the prognosis. Then we said she went to a special school. Now, 3 years later, I am pretty blunt as I have found that others have mental health issues and because no one talks about it, it stays in the shadows. Since Kanga will never be reintegrated into our community, I feel a little more open about telling things as they are.

    Course, I think Tigger's answer was the best.

    Adult: How many kids do you have in your family?

    Tigger: Three. We used to have 4 but we traded Kanga for a dog.

    Adult: (just stares at Tigger, trying to make it make sense)

    Me: (after Tigger ran off) We had two foster daughters who didn't stay with us. (Technically, we adopted Kanga but the answer serves its purpose.)
  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    OMG, JJJ - Tigger is so cool!

    ...Can I trade the difficult child parts for a cat??? I'll keep the rest.
  18. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    So in my case it's true because Kat actually left Princess (her dog) with me. And the dog is much nicer. I think I may use that one with most everyone, as most people know I'm absolutely crazy for my dogs anyway!
  19. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I almost have to wonder if the friend is thinking somewhere in the back of mind that she'd jump at the chance to adopt your granddaughter and provide her a better home than your daughter.
  20. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    What's not to like about a dog? They are always happy to see us. Never steal the car, let alone get mad at us and turn on the water hose in the gas tank, they don't call us nasty names, they care whether we are happy or sad, they make us laugh, they never borrow money, let alone not pay it back. I'd trade those difficult child moments for my dogs any day!